The treatment for oxygen deprivation is not a cure. There is no way to reverse any damage done by the deprivation of oxygen. Instead, there are attempts to limit any brain injuries and complications, address emergent symptoms, and treat related medical conditions.
If your baby experienced oxygen deprivation at birth, your child’s doctor and care team should immediately evaluate their needs and the severity of their lack of oxygen. It is imperative that your child receives the care required as soon as possible. This can prevent further injuries and impairments.
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Treating Oxygen Deprivation by Inducing Hypothermia Can Limit Lasting Impairments
The only treatment that may limit the damage caused by oxygen deprivation and the following reperfusion injury is induced therapeutic hypothermia. This treatment requires the medical team to use special equipment to lower the baby’s body temperature for up to 72 hours. By lowering their body temperature significantly, the processes in their body slow down. This may prevent death or severe brain damage in some babies.
Typically therapeutic hypothermia is only ordered for babies with moderate to severe oxygen deprivation who are at significant risk of disability or death. These babies are monitored closely and remain medicated to ensure they are comfortable during this treatment on a cooling bed, under a cooling blanket, or in a special cap.
Medical journal Early Human Development states that therapeutic hypothermia leads to positive outcomes in several ways, including:
- Improved survival at 18 months
- Improved neurological outcomes
- Fewer disabilities and delays related to their brain injury
It is important to note, however, that this treatment has its limits. A study in Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that more than four out of every ten babies who received induced hypothermia either suffered a permanent disability or passed away. While this statistic is better than it would be without this treatment, it also shows the limits of induced hypothermia.
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Life-Saving Interventions for Oxygen Deprivation Birth Injuries
While the treatment for oxygen deprivation is essential, it may be more important to address the baby’s symptoms related to their birth injury. In addition to hypothermia treatment, these babies often require additional care that could include life-saving interventions. Some examples of necessary care related to an oxygen deprivation birth injury may consist of:
- Resuscitation efforts
- Supplemental oxygen
- Mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
- Medications to help increase their heart rate and keep it beating properly
- Addressing low blood pressure, including giving medications, fluids, and blood products as needed
- Treatment for seizures
- Treatment for symptoms of organ dysfunction or damage
Doctors and nurses should use the baby’s one-minute and five-minute Apgar assessments to determine their needs, as well as other symptoms they may exhibit. In addition, these babies will likely go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for closer observation.
Treatment Continues for Long-Term Injuries Due to Oxygen Deprivation
Once the baby is stable and can go home from the hospital, they may still require treatment related to their oxygen deprivation. Some babies go home with a diagnosis–often epilepsy or organ damage–that requires ongoing monitoring and medication.
Others receive a diagnosis of a complication or medical condition that requires surgery, medication, therapies, early intervention, and other treatment, care, and support. In many cases, the treatment for these children will last for years or even throughout their lifetime.
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Taking Legal Action Following Your Child’s Oxygen Deprivation Birth Injury
If there is evidence to show a doctor recognized or failed to prevent your child’s oxygen deprivation and related birth injuries, you can likely work closely with a medical malpractice law firm that handles cases in your state. Your birth injury attorney will be able to review the relevant medical records and work with a medical expert to build a case for your family.
They can explain the laws in your state, assign liability based on the specific details of your child’s birth injuries, and take action to seek a settlement or take your case to trial. They will likely work based on contingent fees.
Recoverable expenses and losses in an oxygen deprivation birth injury case may include compensation to help your family pay for your baby’s current, ongoing, and future care and treatment. This includes:
- Medical care costs
- Ongoing care and support
- Your time away from work because of your child’s injuries
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Your child’s pain and suffering
- Other tangible and intangible losses
Get Help Pursuing Compensation for Your Child’s Birth Injury
You can speak with a team member from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for free today by calling (800) 222-9529. We can discuss your legal options during a complimentary consultation about your child’s birth injury, complications, prognosis, and more. You may be able to recover compensation for your child’s treatment and care while holding the doctor and hospital accountable.